Global perspective Human stories

Internet Governance Forum this month will be wide-ranging, says UN official

Internet Governance Forum this month will be wide-ranging, says UN official

A meeting on Internet governance in Rio de Janeiro later this month will bring together participants from around the world to discuss issues ranging from open standards to child protection and child pornography, a senior United Nations official said today.

Speaking to the press in Geneva ahead of the second Internet Governance Forum meeting, to be held from 12-15 November, Markus Kummer, Executive Coordinator of the Forum Secretariat, said more than 1,500 participants had registered 10 days before the event was set to begin.

This turnout was a demonstration to the “richness and wealth” of the meeting, which would gather representatives of government, the private sector, civil society and the Internet community to address a wide range of issues concerning the Internet.

The issue of security had attracted most attention, Mr. Kummer said, with 19 out of 70 parallel events devoted to it, many of them focusing exclusively on child protection and the fight against child pornography.

He stressed that international cooperation was the key, citing the example of a British-run watchdog programme on Internet child pornography which resulted in the establishment of a self-regulation mechanism where consumers could alert the watchdog of any illicit content.

In close cooperation with the Internet industry, the watchdog in turn alerted Internet service providers and the police, and removed the content from the Internet. As a result, the United Kingdom had reduced locally-originated child pornography to zero.

The Forum was neither a decision-making body nor an intergovernmental meeting, Mr. Kummer said, but a setting where all participants attended as equals.

“The Forum is more than a talking shop. It is a gathering of interested people who care about the Internet and who can give direction… and prepare the decisions that will be taken into consideration by other organizations that do have the decision-making power.”